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These courses enable learners to gain recognition for the achievement of considerable knowledge in a range of subject areas, as for example in the Leaving Certificate and one-year Post Leaving Certificate courses.

Courses may be academic or practical in focus, and awards that are recognised by the National Framework of Qualifications may lead to progression opportunities higher up in the framework.

Employment Opportunities
The majority of people with certificates at this level are well prepared for occupations that involve using their knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include office secretary, customer service representatives, special needs assistant, retail salespersons and childcare workers.

Level on the National Framework of Qualifications
2 Years
Duration of course
Grades Awarded

Marks Distribution 2018:
Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 99 students who sat the Higher Level Arabic exam in 2018.

Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the  students who sat the Ordinary Level Arabic exam in 2018.

In brief... header image

Leaving Certificate Arabic is based on the Arabic curriculum taught at second-level in the state education system of an Arabic-speaking country. The curriculum includes a number of prescribed texts, both religious and secular.

Why Study this?header image

Why Study Arabic

  • Arabic can be used as a third language in terms of entry into UCD, UCC and NUIG
  • If you are interested in studying languages there has been a huge increase in the number of courses offering a language option such as journalism, business and commerce

What kind of student would Arabic suit?

  • A student who has a good foundation in the language


  • Students taking higher level should possess a number of linguistic skills which are not expected of ordinary level students. What is expected at both ordinary and higher levels, and what is expected only at higher level, are indicated in the exam structure [available in 'Resources' above].
  • For example, a third language is a requirement of a number of departments in the NUI colleges - University College Cork (UCC), University College Dublin (UCD), NUI Galway (NUIG) and NUI Maynooth (MU)*. The term 'third language' refers to a language other than English and Irish, which, it is presumed, most students already study.

    Departments in NUI colleges that require students to have a language include or Arts, Humanities, Law, Social Science, Commerce, Medicine and Health Sciences and some other degrees. A third language is not required for engineering or agriculture in these colleges.

    Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and the University of Limerick require students to have one language - either Irish or a modern language, while Dublin City University (DCU) and the Institutes of Technology require students to pass Maths and English or Irish.

*Changes 2017 - Maynooth University: The National University of Ireland (NUI) have recently approved the removal of the third language requirement for Maynooth University’s Business, Accounting, Finance and Law degree programmes. For entry 2017 and subsequent years, a third language is not required for any of the MH400 and MH500 degrees; namely MH401, MH403, MH404, MH405, MH407, MH411 as well as MH501 and MH502.

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Dave McInerney - Spanish and Arabic

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Course Overview header image

Arabic is assessed by a written examination at both ordinary and higher levels. There is also an aural and an oral examination at both levels.

Arabic can be used as a third language in terms of entry to college UCD, UCC and NUIG. See useful information on NUI Matriculation Regulations.

However, it is a minority choice with only 120 - 150 students sitting the exam annually, vast majority of whom sit the higher level exam.

Course Contentheader image

Syllabus content draws on and develops many aspects of the aims, objectives and content of languages at junior cycle. The aims are:

To foster in learners such communicative skills in the target language as will enable them to:

  • take full part in classroom activities conducted in the target language
  • participate in everyday transactions and interactions
  • extract information and derive enjoyment from the mass media
  • consider as a realistic option the possibility of pursuing leisure activities, further study and/or career opportunities through the medium of the target language

To give learners a critical awareness of how meaning is organised and conveyed by the structures and vocabulary of the target language, and thus to contribute to their understanding of the workings of human language in general.

To help learners develop strategies for effective language learning.

To equip learners with a broad acquaintance with the cultural, social and political complexion of countries in which the target language is a normal medium of communication, and thus, to help raise their awareness of cultural, social and political diversity generally.

Exam Structure header image

Arabic is assessed by a written examination at both ordinary and higher levels. There is also an aural and an oral examination at both levels.

Higher level

  • Understanding and communicating information at both a straightforward and a complex level
  • understanding facts, ideas and opinions, and ordering and presenting them with clarity and accuracy
  •  evaluating material and selecting and presenting in detail what is relevant for specific purposes
  • describing and reflecting upon experience and detailing and analysing effectively what is felt and what is imagined
  • recognising implicit meanings and attitudes
  • showing a clear sense of audience and an understanding of appropriate uses of language
  • writing in well constructed paragraphs, using a full range of appropriate sentence structure and showing accuracy in punctuation.

Ordinary level

  • understanding and conveying information at a straightforward level
  • understanding basic facts, ideas and opinions, and presenting them with a degree of coherence
  • selecting material and commenting upon it at a literal level
  • describing experience in concrete terms and expressing intelligibly what is felt and what
    is imagined
  • recognising implicit meanings and attitudes
  • showing awareness that language is used in different ways in different circumstances
  • writing in simple sentences and showing accuracy

Marking Scheme:

Reading comprehension 20%
Literature 35%
Usage 20%
Continuous writing 25%

Career Possibilities header image

Possible careers include translation, teaching and administration and business roles in companies dealing with Arabic speaking countries.

Career Guidance